Yankees stand proud
They clean up at home again
NEW YORK - Phil Hughes slipped on a sport jacket and grabbed his suitcase. A few lockers down, Derek Jeter checked his phone for last-minute messages.
Fresh off their best homestand in five years, the first-place Yankees packed up in their plush new clubhouse yesterday and got ready to take this winning show on the road.
Jeter hit a go-ahead single, Mariano Rivera earned a four-out save, and New York beat the Oakland Athletics, 7-5, to complete a 9-1 homestand.
“Our pitching staff deserves most of the credit,’’ Jeter said. “I think everyone in here feels good about this team.’’
Robinson Cano had an early three-run double and the Yankees got a strong effort from the bullpen, increasing their AL East lead to 2 1/2 games over the Red Sox.
New York bolted from the All-Star break with a stellar homestand that included seven games against last-place teams (Baltimore and Oakland) and three vs. AL Central-leading Detroit. It was the most wins for the Yankees on a homestand since going 10-2 in June 2004.
“Pretty awesome,’’ reliever Brian Bruney said.
After winning for the 22d time in 28 games, the Yankees hit the road for 19 of their next 26.
“We’re right where we want to be,’’ Hughes said. “We have to go on the road and expect to win.’’
Brought in to protect a two-run lead in the seventh, Hughes struck out three of his first four batters before running into trouble in the eighth. The righthander issued a one-out walk before Daric Barton’s double put runners on second and third.
Manager Joe Girardi then went to Bruney, and he came through, too, striking out Mark Ellis.
Then it was Rivera’s turn, retiring pinch hitter Nomar Garciaparra on a comebacker. That preserved Hughes’s scoreless streak (23 1/3 innings).
The 39-year-old Rivera fanned two in a perfect ninth, converting his 25th consecutive save and 29th in 30 chances this season.
Phil Coke (2-3) got the win despite giving up a go-ahead homer in the sixth to Ellis, who had three RBIs.